Leaders Share Funding Plans for HHS, Others at Washington Technology Industry Day

October 7, 2016
By Katie Helwig

I went to the Washington Technology Health and Human Services Industry Day on October 6 with fresh eyes—this is new territory for me. The half-day event was well-attended and provided a nice broad-stroke view of the procurement focus areas for fiscal year 2017. Beth Killoran, chief information officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), identified the functional areas where the agency plans to invest: 

  • Work force.
  • Cyber privacy.
  • Shared services.
  • Interoperability.
  • Usability.

The National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) is the preferred contract vehicle for all information technology (IT) contracts. If a contracting officer does not use NITAAC, a sound business case must be presented to and approved by Killoran.

At $21 billion in U.S. federal contract spending, HHS is ranked third for fiscal year 2015, said Donna Hairston, director of the department's Office of Acquisition Business Systems. Donald Knode, director of the Information Technology Contracts Group in the Office of Acquisition and Grants Management at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), added that his office helped execute 5,600 contracts, grants and interagency programs in fiscal year 2016, worth more than $8 billion. The IT budget for fiscal year 2016 was $2.6 billion. Knode expects the same for fiscal year 2017, with 70 percent of funding earmarked for operations and maintenance of existing systems and 30 percent for modernization.

Knode articulated the need for companies to clearly state how they differ from their competitors and how their proposed solutions will drive down costs.

Bridget Gauer, NITAAC’s acting director, reviewed the three governmentwide acquisition contracts under the center's umbrella: CIO-SP3, CIO-SP3 small business and CIO-CS for commodities and solutions. Gauer praised her team, sharing that it has earned a reputation for providing stellar customer service and is available to answer questions and offer sound advice. Additionally, she confirmed there is no plan to graduate CIO-SP3 small business contract holders once they reach the success threshold that makes them ineligible for future CIO-SP3 small business procurement opportunities.

Washington Technology provided a great industry overview of the procurement opportunities available with HHS. To drill deeper into the topic, attend the AFCEA Bethesda Chapter's Health IT Day on October 12 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Katie Helwig is director of small business programs at AFCEA International

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